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  • Writer's pictureShilpa Rao

10 Signs of Learning Disability You Should Not Ignore in Your Child

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

As a parent, it can be challenging to understand what makes your child different from regular kids. Is your child experiencing developmental delay, or does he/ she have a specific learning disability? It is essential that you find these answers before it is too late.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), around 10% of school-going children in India have a specific learning disability, out of which only less than 5% are diagnosed. Due to a lack of awareness, learning disabilities in India often go undiagnosed, leading to frustration and poor academic performance. Early detection and intervention can help the child succeed in school and life.

In this blog, we highlight 10 signs of learning disability you should not ignore in your child, which we hope will help with your child's future.

Types of Learning Disability

As per American Psychiatric Association, there are three types of learning disabilities dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. The diagnosis is categorized as mild, moderate, or severe.

Dyslexia is the most common type of learning disability diagnosed in India, with an occurrence rate of 3-10%. Children with dyslexia have trouble reading since they find it challenging to make the connection between sounds, letters, and words. They have difficulty recognizing and understanding the meanings of words, which leads to problems in forming sentences.

Dyscalculia is a math-based learning disorder where the child face difficulties in grasping basic arithmetic concepts like additions/ subtractions, fraction, positive/ negative numbers, etc. These children may also have difficulty in telling time.

Dysgraphia is difficulty in the physical act of writing or struggling with comprehending information. It can be feeling tensed when holding a pen/ pencil, struggles also include organizing thoughts on paper, spelling, grammar, and handwriting.

Other recognized learning disabilities are auditory processing disorder, language processing disorder, nonverbal learning disabilities, and visual motor deficits.

Signs of Learning Disability

Many children would have shown signs related to learning disabilities in their growing years. Most kids overcome these problems on their own as they grow, but for a child with learning disability these problems will persist for a longer period, and if it does then make sure that you get your child tested and analyzed by an expert immediately. Early identification and intervention can be key to the future of a child with a learning disability.

Read on to understand 10 common signs of learning disability you should not ignore in your child.

  1. Problem with reading, writing, or spelling: The signs include struggles with decoding words, understanding sentence structure, the sounds of letters/ words, and many more.

  2. Difficulty with numbers and understanding mathematical concepts: The signs include difficulty understanding basic arithmetic, number structure, complex mathematics problem, etc.

  3. Poor memory and retention of information: The child has difficulty with long-term or short-term memory, has difficulty retaining information learned in class, and has problems with recalling information.

  4. Lack of focus and attention: The child has difficulty concentrating and focusing on anything. It also includes feeling restless and getting distracted often.

  5. Difficulty following instructions: The child will find it difficult to understand and follow even simple instructions and multi-step directions.

  6. Problems with time management and being organized: This may include trouble organizing thoughts, materials, or tasks, difficulty completing any tasks on time, or forgetfulness.

  7. Understanding abstract concepts or ideas: A child may struggle with abstract concepts, such as symbolism, metaphors, and figurative language. That can lead to difficulty in understanding literature and other types of communication.

  8. Difficulty with fine motor skills: This may include difficulty with tasks that require precise hand-eye coordination or control over small movements, such as writing or cutting.

  9. Difficulty with social interaction: A child may struggle with communication, understanding social cues, and interacting appropriately with peers and adults.

  10. Struggles with critical thinking and problem-solving: A child may struggle with analytical thinking, making connections between information, and problem-solving.

It is important to note that some children with learning disabilities often show signs of other conditions/ comorbidities like ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), anxiety, depression, etc. Timely intervention can help deal with these comorbidities. If your child shows any of the signs mentioned above, visit a child development center near you to get your child analyzed and start intervention immediately.

Remember, children with learning disabilities are unique, make sure that instead of emphasizing academic success, help your child discover his/ her gift.

Nele is a fast-growing child development center that offers psychoeducational assessment, student coaching, remedial education, and many more for children with learning disabilities like dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, ADHD, and many more services, especially for various learning disorders. We work with schools and parents to create a healthy atmosphere for each child.

FAQ Related to Learning Disability

1. What is the difference between slow learners & learning disability?

It is often difficult to differentiate between a slow learner and a child with a learning disability based only on observation. A child with a learning disability will have deficits in one or two areas while performing at par or sometimes above average in other areas, with average or above-average intelligence levels. A slow learner is a child whose intelligence and thinking skills have developed at a slower pace than the norm of his/ her peers.

2. What are the causes of learning disability?

Learning disabilities are caused by differences in the neurological functioning of the person’s brain. These differences can occur before the person is born, during their birth, or in early childhood, and may be caused by factors such as:

  • Maternal illness during pregnancy.

  • Birth complications that block the flow of oxygen to the baby’s brain

  • Certain genes can make the person more genetically predisposed to developing a learning disability

  • Injury or illness, such as meningitis, in early childhood.

  • Health conditions such as cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome often involve some extent of learning disability.

However, it’s important to note that learning disabilities should not be mistaken for learning problems that arise due to other factors such as

  • Visual, hearing, verbal, or motor handicaps

  • Intellectual disability

  • Emotional disturbances

  • Economic, cultural, or environmental disadvantages

3. How do we diagnose learning disability?

A healthcare professional/Clinical psychologist can diagnose learning disabilities. The diagnostic process might involve:

  • Academic testing: The clinical psychologist may administer a standardized achievement test that checks the person’s reading, writing, and arithmetic skills, as well as an intelligence quotient (IQ) test. If the person performs well on the IQ test but has a lower score on the achievement test, it could indicate that they have a learning disability.

  • Performance review: The clinical psychologist may review and evaluate the person’s academic, professional, social, and developmental performance.

  • Medical history: The healthcare provider will likely ask questions about the person’s personal and family medical history.

  • Physical and neurological exam: The healthcare provider may conduct a physical and neurological exam to check for other health conditions such as brain diseases, mental health conditions, and developmental and intellectual disabilities.

4. How LD can be treated?

Learning disabilities are lifelong conditions that cannot be fixed or cured; however, with timely diagnosis, treatment, and support, people with learning disabilities can be successful at school, work, and in their community. Treatment for learning disabilities may involve:

  • Special education: Children with learning disabilities may benefit from education by specially trained teachers who perform a comprehensive evaluation of the child’s abilities and then help the child build on their strengths while compensating for their disabilities.

  • Medication: Some people may need to take medication to improve their ability to focus and concentrate.

  • Therapy: Psychotherapy can help people with learning disabilities deal with emotional issues and develop coping skills.

  • Other interventions: People with learning disabilities may also benefit from other interventions such as speech and language therapy and occupational therapy.

  • Support groups: People with learning disabilities as well as parents of children with learning disabilities may benefit from support group meetings that help them connect with others who have similar experiences. Learning difficulties can often lead to tension, misunderstandings, and conflicts among the family, particularly among families where the condition is hereditary.

5. What are other types of learning disability?

Learning disability other than the ones classified under DSM are as follows.

  • Auditory processing disorder (APD): People with APD may have difficulty processing sounds because their brain misinterprets auditory information received by the ear. As a result, they may confuse the order of sounds in certain words, or they may not be able to distinguish between sounds such as the teacher’s voice and the background noise in the classroom.

  • Language processing disorder (LPD): This is a subset of APD, characterized by difficulties with processing spoken language. The person may have difficulty attaching meaning to sound groups representing words, sentences, and stories.

  • Nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD): NVLD is characterized by difficulty interpreting nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, and other nonverbal signals.

  • Visual perceptual/visual motor deficit: People with this condition may have difficulty with hand-eye coordination and motor activities. They may frequently lose their spot while reading, demonstrate unusual eye movements while reading or writing, confuse similar-looking letters, have difficulty navigating their environment and struggle to manage items like pens, pencils, crayons, glue, and scissors.


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